Hollywood has seen plenty of on-screen adventures in the world of horse racing, but none so specific and revealing as “The Jockey.”

Clifton Collins Jr. plays Jackson Silva in Clint Bentley’s production, and the men sat down at Variety Studios at TIFF, presented by Canada Goose, to talk about the film and what they learned from the experience.

Bentley, whose late father was a jockey, spoke about how he wanted to create a film that showed the true essence of what it means to live that experience.

“As I got older, I realized there’s a whole genre of horse racing movies, but none of them felt like they had actually shown the life of a jockey and shown the world behind the track,” said Bentley.

Collins Jr., who wasn’t as aware of the world before he played Jackson, spoke about how he learned the ropes from the real jockeys around him.

“I spent a lot of time with the jockeys,” said Collins Jr. “I love to get into that world — thankfully we were shooting on a live track so I dressed as a jockey and I dropped weight.” The actor also explained his learning process. “You become a fly on the wall, and what they don’t know is I’m taking notes the whole time.”

Bentley spoke to Collins Jr.’s voice adding, “It unlocked the character for all of us on set, just hearing that cadence.”

Knowing the backstory behind the jockey lifestyle, Bentley said he was searching for a certain feeling. “I knew a feeling that I wanted to have, and that feeling came across, which very much matches the world of where it’s very romantic, very slow and relaxed, but there’s also life or death happening just underneath the surface.”

Watch the full discussion above.